BOB GOLUB Comedian's father looms large in film
Golub is searching for a place to screen his film in the area.
By GUY D'ASTOLFO
VINDICATOR ENTERTAINMENT WRITER
In talking to Bob Golub, it becomes obvious that his father still looms large in his life -- even though he's been dead for 10 years.
It's a subject that has consumed the life of the stand-up comedian who grew up in Sharon, Pa.
In August, Golub completed a documentary about his father, Donald, titled "Dodo," which was his father's nickname. It received strong reviews at the Pittsburgh Film Festival in November.
Golub, 49, is publicizing the film, and is looking for a place to screen it for the public in the Sharon-Youngstown area. He is shooting for a national DVD release on Father's Day 2007.
The comedian will return to his hometown this weekend for two shows at the Funny Farm in Liberty. In a recent phone interview from his West Hollywood, Calif., home, he talked extensively about his comedy, his father and the making of his film.
About the film
"Dodo" begins by introducing the steel town of his youth, with its many bars, churches and ethnic groups.
Using video footage he shot years ago, along with interviews of townsfolk and re-enactments, "Dodo" paints a raw and compelling portrait of his tough family life. The film is fast-paced, coarse, often hilarious and transfixing.
It revolves around Dodo, a tough, hard-drinking, violent and profane SOB. A roofer, Dodo spent his days and evenings in watering holes around town "drumming up business." Oftentimes he came home drunk and penniless after buying too many rounds for the house.
"You know how people say, 'We were poor, but we didn't know it'? Well, we knew it," Golub says in the film.
But it was the hardness, the total absence of expressions of love, that colored the large Golub household and left an enduring mark on the comedian to this day. It's also the tragic undercurrent of the entire film.
"My dad never said 'I love you' to me and I never said it to him," said Golub during the interview. "It would have been seen as a sign of weakness."
The five sons in the Golub family (which also included two daughters and their mother) coped by making each other laugh with a running war of insults.
"If you didn't laugh, you'd cry," said Golub.
Making "Dodo" was cathartic, he said, and his siblings say it's an honest, if not embarrassing, portrayal.
While "Dodo" is captivating and often funny, it's not a feel-good movie. It's a study in survival that is brutally real.
For some, it's therapy.
"It's hard to watch for some people who didn't grown up that way," said Golub. "But others totally relate to it because they lived it. One guy told me 'I cried and I laughed. I'm still in that cycle of not telling my kids I love them.'"
Golub has been a comedian for 26 years -- ever since he got out of prison for a drug offense in 1980. He originally built his act around his father and his formative years.
He has also had small acting roles in movies, including "GoodFellas" and "Art School Confidential."
Married with two small children -- whom he has told he loves -- Golub is putting his stand-up career on hold while he pursues his movie projects.
He has written a script for a drama based on his dysfunctional family.
He is also developing a film about legendary Farrell High School basketball coach Ed McCluskey, who won eight state championships, and whose squad was one of the few to beat Wilt Chamberlain's Philadelphia Overbrook team. "I have unbelievable footage of that 1955 game," said Golub, who plans to work it into the movie.
Another reason Golub doesn't do much stand-up these days has to do with his own family.
"I don't want to be on the road for weeks on end anymore," he said. "I can't stand to be away from my kids."
Fans who catch him at the Funny Farm can expect to hear about Dodo, and a whole lot more.
"I'll do a lot of local stuff ... you know, people from Wheatland, trailer parks," he said. "I find the truth in something, even if it's something no one wants to talk about, and I break it down and then find the humor."